Sunday, March 13, 2005

2 of 3!

Mission almost accomplished. It wasn't pretty and we're not playing our best basketball these days, but winning the BIG TEN Tourney was a goal back in November. Mission accomplished - along with the regular season title. This team brought the defense to the United Center in Chicago to will their way to the Tourney Title for Coach Bruce Webber. That was for his mom.

Illinois hasn't played well since it stomped Purdue a week ago. Sure, the loss to Ohio State was disappointing. The three games in Chicago this weekend were further proof that we're not playing as well as we did in December. But the one constant, actually getting better, is our defense. Defense wins Championships. Nobody is playing better 'D' in the country right now. When the shooting comes around we'll be a tough out for anybody in the NCAA Tourney.

On the bright side, we did get a handle on our turnovers today versus a good Wisconsin team. Keep in mind that conference teams know each other very well. Not too many non-conference teams have seen the intensity of the Illinois Defense and motion offense. Here are my keys to an Illini Championship:

1) Defense, bring the intensity. This has carried us all year in tough circumstances.
2) Minimize turnovers, maximize takeaways.
3) Shot selection and execution. Good shooting.
4) Intangibles - have fun in the motion offense. It's tough to defend when we do it well.

If we get 3 of 4 then we're not going to lose to anybody. We'll beat most teams with 2 of 4, but may not reach St. Louis. We can lose to anybody anytwhere with only 1 of 4.

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